Note: Some of the war statistics such as clan power, ranking and individual player power has changed since the time of the article’s writing (The War of the Five).
The Bloody Halls of Giran 01
The war between the Ascension Alliance and Paragon is not a war of pitched battles. It is not a war of equally matched foes sprinting along the corridors of Cruma 3 or sweeping across the fields of Shrieking Hallows.
It is a war that is as political in nature as it is fraught with tension; a war that has been long brewing — it is a war that began with one man’s ambition.
The War of the Five is a war of epic proportions, and will forever change the face of Giran 1.
Paragon is the #4 ranked (in CP) clan engaged in a war against The Ascension Alliance, composed of #1 ranked Ascension, #2 Immortal, #3 Tears of Valhalla (ToV), and #5 The Main Event (TME).
18 of the top 20 players on the server are involved in the war. 5 of those belong to Paragon, 10 to Ascension, 1 to ToV and 2 to Immortal.
To get a perspective on how strong these players are, the top player on Giran 1, Paragon’s SkeLeToNJacK, sits at 921k CP while the 20th ranked player, Kainey from Ascension, is at 614k CP.
Essentially, to get into the top 10 on Giran 1 you would have to break 685k CP.
Ascension – 26,698,664 Combat Power. The whale clan of the server. Founded on day one, Ascension has remained at #1. Ascension holds the highest War win rate on the server; but it must be noted, that a high number of forfeits from opposing clans contributes to this rank.
Key player: Poe, leader of Ascension, was initially a member, then rose to leader after Bamboozle stepped down.
Tears of Valhalla – 22,547,150 Combat Power. The PvP clan of Giran 1. ToV exists in a state of perpetual war. Before The War of the Five, ToV would maintain at least one war at all times. They are also the highest scoring clan from The Ascension Alliance in the current War of the Five.
Key player: Ochay, Captain of ToV, lord of strife. Views war and chaos as intrinsic parts of the game.
The Main Event – 22,991,284 Combat Power. Led by Crave, and long standing ally of Ascension. By all accounts they have resigned themselves to the war.
Immortal – 23,903,117 Combat Power. The 4th clan of the Ascension Alliance. Second highest combat power clan in the Ascension Alliance but, along with The Main Event, are the least effective clans in the war.
Key player: Brobben, leader of Immortals and Twitch streamer. Runs his clan like a family and is less competitive than Ascension and ToV.
Paragon – 23,624,616 Combat Power. Founded on day one, Paragon has maintained their rank in the Top 5. The clan has faced multiple leadership changes. Most recently, two clans merged into Paragon, EX and Sync.
Key player: Bartuc, leader of Paragon. Ambitious, driven. Rose to power and now finds himself at odds with the most powerful clans on Giran 1.
The Ascension Alliance and Paragon sit at two different ends of the same table. They are as opposed in perspectives as any two groups can be. Where Paragon seeks balance, Ascension seeks strife.
Paragon seeks balance, and for their leader, Bartuc, balance requires three basic tenets:
- Players able to freely AFK farm outside of war, without having to worry about being PK’d.
- The creation of a stronger server in preparation for future server mergers.
- A server where top 20 clans can war each other freely without the looming threat of the Ascension Alliance.
For the Ascension Alliance, a healthy server is where more players spend less time AFK and more time fighting – more time actively playing the game.
Ascension gravitates towards chaos. When war is declared, anything goes. No rules of engagement at play; no mercy. From killing AFK farmers before server reset to wasting a player’s Hot Time, to denying resources in elite dungeons during the day — during war, it’s hunt or be hunted.
This includes taking advantage of current game exploits that have not yet been patched, such as teleporting out of combat to a weekly or daily quest, even while stunned — a tactic also deployed by Paragon.
Bartuc’s ideal of balance finds itself in direct conflict with the Ascension Alliances’ vision of a server at perpetual war. Paragon understands the necessity of war, but believes that war and farming should remain distinctly separate gaming activities. Just like the old adage, “An army progresses on its stomach,” clans in Lineage 2: Revolution progress via their supply of Red Starstones.
Bartuc wants clans in war to separate progression and war, so that both activities can receive a clan’s full attention. It’s a lofty idea — one that would require coordination, communication and agreement among the top clans on Giran 1.
The War of the Five didn’t arise solely from clashes on Giran 1. Pivotal events that stoked the fires of war transpired on Discord, which most clans use for communication with one another.
Early in the server’s lifespan, there was an attempt by Paragon to unseat Ascension from the coveted #1 rank. To achieve this goal, Paragon formed the Dark Alliance with ReaperLegion and Immortal. Their mission was simple: bring Ascension down.
Ascension caught wind of this plan, and immediately began declaring wars on clans in the Dark Alliance, forcing them to repeatedly forfeit, resulting in a fragmented and demoralized alliance that culminated with ReaperLegion leadership changing hands, and Immortals leaving the alliance.
The Dark Alliance was finished.
Paragon, however, was not.
Soon after the demise of the Dark Alliance, Paragon (led by smkabowl) created a Discord server to encourage clans from Giran 1 to meet and chat. The prevailing rumor was that Paragon was using it to poach members from other clans.
At the time, Bartuc had not yet taken leadership of Paragon, and was leading a clan, EX. He was in talks with Ascension and proposed that either they merge with EX, or EX would merge into Paragon and Ascension could then ally with them.
It is possible that due to differences in game values, while still entertaining the prospect of a merge with Ascension, Bartuc chose to simultaneously approach Paragon and other clans to form an alliance that would, instead, take on Ascension. One of those clans happened to be ToV.
Unbeknownst to all, ToV’s diplomatic relations with Ascension had improved dramatically, and instead of throwing their support behind the prospect of an anti-Ascension alliance still in its infancy, ToV threw the full weight of their loyalty behind Ascension by revealing the plan in its incipient stages.
By taking away the element of surprise and revealing the would-be players who could have potentially challenged Ascension, the combined forces of Ascension and ToV were able to apply so much pressure on Paragon that eventually it resulted in Paragon’s original leaders abandoning their role, leaving clan members to fend for themselves. Without leaders they could count on, and clan they could believe in, Paragon’s membership declined significantly.
With the old leadership out, Ascension backed off, giving Paragon space to rebuild. In January, Bartuc merged his best from EX, along with Sync, into Paragon, with the idea of bringing balance to Giran 1. It was at this point that Bartuc was given leadership.
Shortly after Bartuc took leadership of Paragon, he created a Discord server called “Top 16” for the leaders of the top 16 clans. The original purpose of the server was to organize scheduled wars between clans. Wars would be pre-arranged, and clans would agree to not declare wars outside of those times. Afterwards, players would be free to AFK farm without worrying about potential PK.
Organized wars as opposed to chaotic strife is a point of tension on many servers. It largely leads to concerns regarding resources, efficiency, and entertainment. If a server mutually agrees to run a system of organized warfare, it’s presumed that players will be free to AFK farm overnight without the threat of PK. Top clans and whales wanting to flex their muscles can leave the wars satisfied.
On a chaotic server, wars can be declared at any moment. They become more than a contained battleground. Wars can be used to deny resources (starstones, experience), halt progression, imply political motives, or be used to bully or retaliate via overnight PK.
With the belief that organized war is essentially meaningless, Ascension and ToV left Top 16, and The War of the Five began.
When asked why Paragon accepted a war against such overwhelming odds, Bartuc explained, “To show the server that the line in the sand had been drawn.”
To an outside observer, the choice to fight the strongest alliance may seem like political suicide: Paragon’s very existence is at risk. The price that Bartuc has paid for his attempted subterfuge has marked him, forever, in the eyes of the Ascension Alliance. Bartuc didn’t draw a line in the sand – wars are, inherently, about two parties fighting and killing one another; however, Bartuc’s actions made the war personal. He changed the nature of what otherwise could have been a “typical” war.
Politics aside, what Paragon has accomplished is impressive. With tactics like instant teleport, using their heavy hitters to secure kills, and a general elusiveness, Paragon was able to generate a positive score against four clans.
As clans experienced with war know, the score doesn’t tell the entire story. Paragon is able to maintain their score by controlling when their members login. By using instant teleport and Feather of Peace (PvP immunity for 3 minutes), Paragon is able to control their engagements. This is a great advantage, especially in the target rich environment Paragon find themselves in.
PvP in L2R is more than a numbers game. While a high CP can help greatly increase the odds of success, CP is a flat number that, like the war score, doesn’t tell an entire story, nor determine the victor. Coordination, teamwork, and communication can not only overcome CP deficits, but also ensure victory.
If the war score were the only measure of success, Paragon clearly has the advantage. Their top players can form a party at any given time, and hunt 180 targets. They can choose to log in and ambush anyone who isn’t actively watching their locations closely. If Paragon doesn’t need resources such as Adena and Red Starstones, then the war is sustainable and can continue indefinitely.
The race to 180 is on, and if the War of the Five continues, it is unknown if Paragon can continue to maintain their lead.
The outcome of this war will see a paradigm shift in Giran 1. Whoever rises above the other to stand as victor will have the power to shake the server’s foundations.
Like Ochay from ToV said, “War is war.”